The Solicitor General (SG) has advised the Centre to recommend to the President dissolution of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly if it wants to avoid a constitutional crisis in the state.
Giving his opinion on the four options listed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in its draft Cabinet note on the issue, Mohan Parasaran has said though the best course would have been to reconvene both Houses of Parliament to pass a resolution approving the Proclamation of President’s Rule before April 30, this option looks extremely difficult “from a practical perspective”.
“As almost all Members of Parliament are busy campaigning in elections, it may be difficult for Lok Sabha to be summoned even for a day during the ongoing election process,” he has said.
“I would accordingly advise that it would be for the government on policy considerations to explore the first option first (reconvening Parliament to approve President’s rule) and if that is not feasible resort to the fourth option and whatever decision is taken, the same must be duly supported by adequate reasons on the file to sustain any judicial challenge,” Parasaran has opined.
Unless the President’s rule, imposed on March 1, is approved by both Houses of Parliament by April 30, it would stand revoked, resulting in a major constitutional crisis in the state where Assembly elections are being held along with the general election.
Apart from the option of reconvening both Houses of Parliament, the Cabinet note also lays down three other options available to the Central government. These include revoking the President’s rule and revive the Legislative Assembly and permit the Governor to carry out an exercise to identify a popular government with requisite majority in the Legislative Assembly; allow the President’s rule to lapse and revive the Legislative Assembly and permit the Governor to carry out an exercise to identify a popular government with requisite majority in the Legislative Assembly; and recommend to the President to issue a Presidential Order under Article 174(2)(b) to dissolve the Legislative Assembly.
In his opinion sent to the Law Ministry, Parasaran has also pointed to the fact that the constitutional validity of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
“Irrespective of any outcome in the said challenge, resorting to the fourth option (dissolution of Assembly) would not prejudice the rights of any parties or public interest because the constitutional requirement to ensure governance by a popular government would also be fulfilled by following the fourth option particularly when the electoral process has begun… In my view, there is no prospect of any popular government being formed in the interregnum. Any action now dissolving the Legislative Assembly in the State of Andhra Pradesh would also not fall foul of the law declared by the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” the SG has opined.